Despite the possibility of being drafted No. 1 overall, former FSU starting QB and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is not planning on attending the 2015 NFL draft.
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According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Winston intends to stay at home with his family rather than attend the 2015 draft in Chicago when it opens on April 30.
“Jameis Winston does not intend to attend the draft in Chicago. Rather, he plans to spend the draft with his family and friends down south. At least, that’s the plan for now… Which got me to thinking: When is the last time the first pick of the draft—Winston is the leader in the clubhouse—did not attend the draft to be congratulated by the commissioner?
The precedent for Winston’s desire to stay out of the spotlight could derive from various off-the-field issues he went through while at Florida State. In 2014, he was accused of sexual assault, but no charges were brought against him due to lack of evidence.
As a redshirt freshman for the Seminoles in 2013, Winston led FSU to an undefeated season and won the Heisman Trophy en route to a National Championship win over the Auburn Tigers. The following season, Winston struggled but stayed undefeated for eleven regular season games (missing one for a suspension) and winning FSU’s 3rd straight ACC conference title, but lost to Oregon in the 2015 Rose Bowl Game.
Cleveland Browns All-Pro LT Joe Thomas, who was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2007 NFL draft, was out fishing when he was notified that he had been drafted – so there is at least some precedent for a top draft pick electing not to attend one of the highlight moments of an NFL rookie’s career.